Who Gets the Dog in the Divorce?

We often think of our pets as members of the family, and this is no different in a divorce. Unfortunately, the law hasn’t caught up with the sentiment, and pets are treated as nothing more than property to be divided in a divorce. While this may not seem fair, it is the unfortunate reality that the courts simply cannot referee “custody” disputes over the pets. Massachusetts is an equitable division state, so the Court will look at what a fair property division – including the dog – would be. The Court may consider the following factors in determining who should get a pet in a divorce:

  1. Was the pet a gift to one spouse?
  2. Does the pet have pedigree papers, and if so, whose name is on them?
  3. Is one party a primary caretaker of the pet?
  4. Does one party have more suitable living arrangements for a pet?
  5. Did one party own the pet prior to marriage?
  6. Is there any evidence either party ever mistreated the pet?
  7. Which party was primarily financially responsible for the pet?

The Court will enforce a determination of who gets the pet(s) in a divorce, but it will not enforce any sort of “shared custody” or “parenting plan.” This is not to say that an amicable divorce agreement may not include sharing time with a beloved pet; however, if one party fails to abide by the terms of the agreement, it is unlikely that the court will intervene.

THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY CATHERINE TAYLOR AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATING AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

#Massachusetts #Divorce #FamilyLaw #Pets

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Immigration Law + Criminal Law = ?

If you are NOT a US citizen, there is ALWAYS a chance that you can be deported! Being a legal permanent resident for 20 years or more does not protect you from deportation, IF you commit a crime!

Criminal law and immigration law are two distinct fields of law, but the problem is that committing certain crimes can lead to triggers in immigration law. The other problem is committing a crime in criminal law has a different name and different definition in immigration law. For instance, in immigration law you can be deported for committing an “aggravated felony” or committing two or more “crimes involving moral turpitude.” But if you look at the criminal statutes in Massachusetts there are no aggravated felonies or crimes involving moral turpitude.

What does “aggravated felony” and a “crime involving moral turpitude” (CIMT) mean? The answer is tricky. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the term aggravated felony includes acts of murder, rape, sexual abuse of a minor, drug trafficking, trafficking firearms or other destructive devices, theft or burglary where term of imprisonment is at least one year, child pornography, treason, and more. As you can see the list is pretty serious and extensive.

The term “crime involving moral turpitude” is even trickier. The Board of Immigration Appeals defined it as “conduct that shocks the public conscience as being inherently base, vile, or depraved, contrary to the rules of morality and the duties owed between man and man, either one’s fellow man or society in general.” Well what does that mean you ask? The immigration courts have determined that it generally includes: spousal abuse, child abuse, robbery, aggravated assault, animal fighting, theft, fraud, driving under the influence, and more. Crimes involving moral turpitude are much broader and can have serious consequences!

Those who are not US citizens should definitely hire an attorney if they are charged with ANY crime to ensure that it does NOT affect their immigration status!

Also if you are legal permanent resident and it is possible for you to naturalize, DO IT! You never know what can happen in the future and if for whatever reason you are charged with a crime, at least you will be assured that you cannot be deported if you are a citizen!

 

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY JAMIE COSME. IT IS INTENDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

Cinco de Mayo– Margaritas and Mugshots

Today is Cinco de Mayo, a day notorious for eating Mexican food and drinking Margaritas and Coronas.

On May 5, younger crowds go out to bars to imbibe. This year, with Cinco de Mayo falling on a Thursday, its the perfect recipe for a night out to celebrate.

If you are heading out tonight, a few things to remember.

1.  The police also know it is Cinco de Mayo.  They will be out stopping cars tonight, looking for impaired or drunk operators. If you are drinking, call a friend, call a cab, call uber.

2. Drunk drivers will be on the road.  If you are not drinking and are on the road,  keep an eye out for other motorists. Be extra vigiliant watching for other drivers that may pose a hazard to you.

3.  Have fun.  Enjoy your margaritas.  Enjoy your enchiladas.  But be safe.  No one wants a Cinco de Mayo mugshot!

4. If you are arrested, call Broadbent & Taylor  for representation at 508-438-1198.

5.  If you are involved in an accident, contact us to see what your next step is.

#accident #massachusetts #drunkdriving #accidentlawyer #oui #ouilawyer

Courthouse Fashion… Dress for Success

A clerk magistrate once asked me, “Counselor, how do you always have your clients dress so nice?”  I laughed and smiled at the question, acknowledging the overall appearance of litigants inside the courthouse on that day.

It may seem like common sense to dress appropriately for a court appearance, but many individuals really need to take a second look in the mirror before setting foot in court.

Some simple tips will have you looking appropriately and feeling comfortable for your trip to court.

  1. Wear simple clothing.  Keep in mind you will have to go through the metal detector.  This involves taking off your belt, and occasionally taking off your shoes.  You don’t want to wear knee high lace up boots only to have to take them off and sit on the courthouse floor trying to lace them back up.
  2. Wear clothing that fits.  As to number 1, I have seen a gentleman take off his belt to his suit, only to have his suit pants fall around his ankles.  It was embarrassing for everyone waiting in that lobby.
  3. If you are a man, wear a shirt that can be tucked.  There is one judge in particular that will not hear your case until 4 p.m. if you approach him with an untucked shirt.
  4. I usually suggest business casual, or nicer.  A nice polo shirt and khaki pants, or button up shirt or simple dress can show the court you are taking your appearance seriously.
  5. Ladies, stick with flats for shoes.  Many courts do not have a lot of sitting areas in the lobby, and there can be a LOT of waiting.  You will be a lot more comfortable in some cute flats.
  6. You don’t need a lot of flashy accessories.  I saw one day a man trying to go through the metal detector with a belt buckle that doubled as a flask.  Unfortunately the court officers made him leave his belt buckle in the car, and he had a hard time keeping his pants all the way up that day.
  7. Leave the sequins at home.  While you want to dress up, think grandma’s closet, not Friday night out.  You want to look conservative rather than flashy.  Ditto for stiletto heels and leather  pants.
  8. Do not wear shorts and flip flops.  Some court officers will actually make you wait in the lobby until your case is called if you are dressed inappropriately.  Shorts and flip flops fall into the category of inappropriate.

Follow these simple guidelines and you will be dressed to impress at court.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime!

In Massachusetts, if you are involved in an accident and there is any evidence of property damage or personal injury, you are responsible for making your identity known to the other parties.

In most cases, what that involves is stopping, exhanging your telephone numbers, license information, and insurance information, then contacting your insurance company.  But what do you do if it is not a typical accident situation?

In many cases, a person will strike an object such as a telephone pole, a building, curbing, a fence, a parked car or something similar.  There isn’t any identifying markers saying “If you hit me please call.”  If it is a parked car, some people will leave a note with contact information.  That isn’t a viable option in cases of a pole or a fence.

If you are involved in an accident with an object, call 911 and immediately report the matter to the police.  They will come, fill out an accident report, and you will be on your way.  If you do not, you risk being cited with leaving the scene of property damage, which is a criminal matter.  You can expect to receive a summons from the police for an arraignment or show cause level hearing.

If you hit a car with passengers and you do not stop to exchange information, you are subject to being charged with leaving the scene of personal injury.  Because there are victims that are physically hurt, rather than property that was damaged, these cases are treated very seriously.  If you leave the scene of a person that was injured without exchanging information or calling the police, you can expect to be charged under this statute.

If you are charged with leaving the scene of property damage or personal injury, you should contact an attorney immediately.  Make sure your insurance company is aware so that any damage can be covered as soon as possible.

Contact Broadbent & Taylor if you have been charged with these crimes.  Broadbent & Taylor represents clients across Massachusetts in motor vehicle matters.

 

 

THIS BLOG IS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT.  IT IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE.

 

 

 

 

 

Naturalization

Naturalization is the process of a person becoming a United States Citizen. There are certain requirements that need to be met in order to naturalize:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY:  You will need to be a legal permanent resident or green card holder for at least five years. If you gained your legal permanent residency through marriage, there is an exception and it allows you to be a legal permanent resident for at least three years before applying to naturalize. If your spouse naturalized also then he/she must be a citizen for at least three years in order to use the 3-year exception. Also if you divorce or separate then you cannot use the 3-year exception. The date for the 3 or 5 years begins on the date on the green card.
    • During your legal permanent residency you must not have taken trips outside the United States for six months or longer.
  • GOOD MORAL CHARACTER: This part can be a little tricky. If you have any kind of criminal record, whether the charge was dismissed or it was only an arrest, it is important that you speak with an attorney before you file the application for naturalization. There are also certain crimes that if you were convicted will bar you from applying for naturalization.

After sending in your application, you will be asked to do biometric fingerprinting. Then there will be an interview. Next you will have to pass a basic English skills test and a basic civics exam. If you pass both exams, then you will become a citizen and take the oath at a ceremony!

There are many benefits in becoming a citizen, such as the right to vote or bring immediate relatives into the United States. You can apply for federal jobs and become an elected official. The application process can be rather lengthy, but definitely worth it!

If you have any questions or concerns about your naturalization application, feel free to contact us!

This post was written by Attorney Jamie Cosme. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is NOT legal advice.

 

 

 

 

Navigating a Criminal Citation in MA

In Massachusetts, there are 2 types of citations that are handed out: civil and criminal.  If you receive a citation for a criminal violation, it is important to take the steps to best defend the citation.

With any criminal matter, it is important to contact an attorney at your earliest oppurtunity.  While a criminal citation may seem trivial, they can in fact impact your criminal history.

Read the citation.  In MA, you have 4 days to return the criminal citation to the court that has jurisdiction.  While it is not necessary to do so, it gives you the added benefit of the scheduling of a show cause hearing.  A show cause hearing is a preliminary hearing in front of a magistrate where the magistrate has the chance to NOT ADVANCE THE MATTER.  If the matter is disposed of at the show cause level, it will not appear on your criminal history.

As with any criminal matter, anything you say can be used against you.  This goes for any statements made by you at the show cause hearing.  Because of this, it is strongly advisable to have an attorney with you at the show cause level to speak on your behalf.

Broadbent & Taylor handles the criminal citations at every level, from the show cause, to the arraignent, up to the trial.  Contact us if you have received one of these citations to discuss how you should proceed going forward.

 

THIS POST IS WRITTEN BY ATTORNEY KELLY BROADBENT.  IT IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE.